“When Americans say Vietnam, they don’t mean Vietnam.”
In his long-overdue first collection of essays, noted journalist and NPR commentator Andrew Lam explores his lifelong struggle for identity as a Viet Kieu, or a Vietnamese national living abroad. At age eleven, Lam, the son of a South Vietnamese general, came to California on the eve of the fall of Saigon to communist forces. He traded his Vietnamese name for a more American one and immersed himself in the allure of the American dream: something not clearly defined for him or his family.
Reflecting on the meanings of the Vietnam War to the Vietnamese people themselves—particularly to those in exile—Lam picks with searing honesty at the roots of his doubleness and his parents’ longing for a homeland that no longer exists.
Andrew Lam is an award-winning syndicated writer, an editor with the Pacific News Service, and a regular commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. He co-founded New California Media, and his essays have appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines across the country, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Baltimore Sun, the Atlanta Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Mother Jones, The Nation, and Earth Island Journal.